The Victorian Farmers Federation is celebrating as years of lobbying for on farm energy investment have finally borne fruit. Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford announced a new $30 million Agriculture Energy Investment Plan, which will provide farmers with on farm energy assessments and grants, as well as demonstrations, research, and skills and education works.
“The VFF has been calling for energy efficiency grants for years, and are pleased to see the government has taken that on board,” said VFF President David Jochinke. “This is a good initiative to help individual farmers take control of their energy costs.”
The survey conducted by Agriculture Victoria clearly indicated that cost and reliability of energy were significant industry concerns, with responses from 215 farmers. These responses confirmed the VFF position – that cost, reliability and access are the key pain points for farmers.
United Dairyfarmers of Victoria President, Adam Jenkins, shared similar sentiments.
“It’s a step in the right direction. The Government is recognising the challenges that farms face in terms of energy cost and reliability, and this will give farmers an opportunity to invest in their on farm infrastructure.”
He also sounded a note of caution.
“We do still need to ensure that there’s continuing high level development in energy policy because dairy currently risks losing its comparative advantage against global competitors.”
The Plan is funded by the Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund (AIJF), which was funded through the sale of the lease of the Port of Melbourne. AIJF was set up after concerted lobbying from the VFF, in order to ensure that regional Victoria received a fair share of the benefits from the lease.
“The investment plan gives some certainty, and a welcome dose of clarity in a previously murky area,” said Mr Jochinke.